x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Premier League previews: Arsenal to Fulham

Wojciech Szczesny may continue in goal for Arsenal if Lukasz Fabianski fails to recover from a hip injury in time for the game against Stoke City.


Wojciech Szczesny may continue in goal if Lukasz Fabianski fails to recover from a hip injury in time for the game against Stoke City tomorrow after his eye-catching debut in the 1-0 defeat at Manchester United on Monday. With Manuel Almunia picking up a fresh ankle problem and Fabianski struggling, his run may continue - something that will not trouble Arsene Wenger. "People always questioned the goalkeeping position at Arsenal. But I always said we had four good goalkeepers - look at how well Vito Mannone is doing at Hull. We have plenty of quality."

Aston Villa

Gary McAllister has said Aston Villa should focus their attention on results, not performances, starting with tomorrow's trip to Wigan Athletic. The Midlands club are only four points clear of the relegation places and McAllister said it is important for Gerard Houllier's men to put substance above style at the DW Stadium. "I think the emphasis is definitely on results at the moment and if we can ally that to performance then so be it - that is even better," Villa's assistant manager told the club's website. "But we want to go there and dig out a win if we're brutally honest."

Birmingham City

Edson Buddle, the Los Angeles Galaxy and United States striker who was the the second highest scorer in Major League Soccer last season, is on trial at Birmingham. Goals have been a problem for Alex McLeish's side, having scored just 17 goals in 17 Premier League games, joint-fourth lowest in the division. "He's been training with us this week and he's done OK, but we're not at a stage yet where we're going to make any commitment," McLeish told the BBC yesterday. Buddle scored 17 goals in 25 games for the Galaxy last term despite missing more than a month because of the World Cup.

Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn's Indian owners are confident caretaker manager Steve Kean has the drive to match their own lofty ambitions for the club. Poultry firm Venky's sacked manager Sam Allardyce this week, claiming he was not the man to take them forward. Venky's have spoken of their desire to finish in the top five of the Premier League despite not promising big funds for transfers. They are looking for a new manager but, in the meantime, feel Kean has an ideal opportunity to state his credentials. Anuradha Desai, Venky's chairperson, told BBC Radio Five Live: "This is a guy who is hard-working, who loves the team and is very motivated."


Neal Eardley, the Blackpool right-back, believes attack is the best form of defence when it comes to facing Tottenham Hotspur's in-form wideman Gareth Bale on Sunday. The defender will come face to face with Bale, his Wales international colleague, who is arguably the Premier League's standout performer at present. "I'll try and make him defend against me as much as I can. People like Aaron Lennon and Gareth probably won't want to run back as much as they'll want to run forward," the 22-year-old told his club's website. "It'll be nice to try and attack him throughout the game and not let him try and attack me all the time."

Bolton Wanderers

Owen Coyle has asked South Korea officials to allow Chung-Yong Lee to remain at Bolton for their busy Christmas schedule before joining up with the squad for the 2011 Asian Cup tournament in Qatar, which starts on January 11. Tomorrow's game at Sunderland could be the midfielder's penultimate game before departing after the Boxing Day clash at home to West Bromwich Albion, meaning he misses the away trips to Chelsea and Liverpool. "We want to keep Chungy with us for as long as we can and we've asked if we can delay his departure," Coyle said. "But we'll wait and see what feedback we get and take things from there."


Carlo Ancelotti yesterday insisted he has no intention of quitting Chelsea at the end of the season. The future of the Chelsea manager has been the subject of fevered speculation, with reports linking him with a return to Italy with Roma, following interference in football affairs by Roman Abramovich, the club's owner. But the 51-year-old has declared ahead of his side's clash with Manchester United on Sunday that he will honour his contract, which expires in 2012, and may stay even longer. "I'll stay in London at least until 2012," he told Corriere dello Sport. "There aren't problems in the dressing room, the relationships are good."


Tim Cahill has admitted Everton need to start scoring more goals to climb away from the Premier League danger zone. Everton have scored just 18 goals this season and are two points above the relegation places. "It is frustrating as the fans know what we can do and what we can achieve, but if it does not hit the back of the net it means nothing," Cahill told the Liverpool Echo. Everton play Manchester City on Monday and Cahill said: "This is a massive game. We love going to big stadiums and playing big teams like City. For us we relish the opportunity playing one of the biggest teams in the world at the moment."


Bobby Zamora, the Fulham and England striker, has taken his first steps on the road to recovery following the serious ankle injury he sustained in early September. Zamora's rehabilitation moved from the gym to running out on the training pitch yesterday, and he is on schedule to return in February. "Bobby went out today and was running on the pitch for the first time," Mark Hughes told the club's website yesterday. "It's very early days for him and it's a case now of building up his confidence and getting his body to where it was before. He's bang on schedule and hopefully we'll have him back sooner rather than later."